Group request City tax funds
By LPR Staff
Five groups approached the Lockhart City Council on Tuesday evening, asking for a share of the city”s annual hotel-motel bed tax collections.
Both local chambers of commerce, both local theater groups and the Caldwell County Museum received funds last year and were invited to submit proposals asking for a share of the 20
06 tax revenue. Because each organization is responsible for attracting and promoting tourism to Lockhart, each is entitled to a share of the tax revenue generated by Lockhart”s hotels.
The City”s finance director, John Washburn, estimates that around $37,600 will be available for distribution in 2006.
Legal requirements earmark 15 percent of the hotel-motel tax revenue for “the arts,” according to Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram. When presenting their requests, both the Lockhart Community Theater and the Gaslight Theatre requested 7.5 percent of the available funds.
“There”s a lot of good theater in Lockhart and we want to do that justice by working together to promote the arts in Lockhart,” said Lucy Fielder, who spoke on behalf of the Lockhart Community Theater and explained that the two theatrical groups have entered into a cooperative promotion agreement.
The Caldwell County Museum asked for $2,500, which representative Stephanie Shunick said would be used to fund museum employees and utility bills. The Caldwell County Museum acts as a tourism and visitors center on the weekends, but is only able to remain open about eight hours per week because of their lack of funds.
The Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce requested $12,000 of funding, much of which will be earmarked for out-of-town advertising and promotion of the organizations four major events and several annual seminars and training classes.
The Lockhart Chamber of Commerce asked for the lion”s share of the funds, requesting $28,000. Lockhart Chamber president Wayne Bock indicated that the funds would be used primarily to print maps, brochures and pamphlets to be distributed to organizations and other chambers of commerce throughout the state.
The council will consider the funding requests and announce how the funds will disbursed during their regular meeting on Feb. 21, 2006.
In other council business:
The City will relinquish its claim to a 3.8-foot stretch of undeveloped right of way off Mulberry Street, adjacent to the Cemetario Navarro.
According to M. Louis Cisneros of the Cemetario Navarro Association, a recent survey of the cemetery revealed that a portion of the fence and at least one grave was located in city-owned right-of-way. Cisneros approached the council, asking the city to abandon its claim to the property and accept payment for the same.
The council agreed to abandon the property, but refused to accept payment. Instead, they determined that abandoning the property was for the good of the community and in the interest of the historical nature of the property. Therefore, the city will waive all fees involved with the transfer of the property.
During public comments, Dee Halliburton approached the council to express concern about the Parks and Recreation Board.
Halliburton, a member of the Little League board and a supporter of youth sports in Lockhart, notified the council that Little League has been attempting to present plans for improvements at the Lockhart Sports Complex for several months, but the Parks and Recreation Board has cancelled the meetings after failing to have a quorum present.
Halliburton said that plans for improvement include adding safety nets to several of the walkways, painting the structure at the center of the complex and replacing the scoreboards.
“We have sponsors lined up and ready to pay for these projects,” she said. “We have other communities that come here and use our fields, but we can”t move forward with anything because we can”t get approval from a board that doesn”t meet.”
In response to Halliburton”s concern, the council later discussed replacing certain members of the Parks and Recreation Board that have poor meeting attendance records.
In brief council news:
The council agreed to rezone a piece of property located at 618 Pecos St. from CLB – Commercial Light Business to RMD – Residential Medium District. The property was formerly a bar, according to city planner Dan Gibson, but a prospective buyer wants to buy the property and build a home. Much of the surrounding property is zoned residential.
The city abandoned claim to an undeveloped alley between 105 and 209 West Cedar Street. The property will be divided between the abutting property owners.
A disgruntled citizen approached the council, speaking for nearly 20 minutes about various problems he as had with the city. His most recent difficulties, he claimed, arise from the still-smoldering fire at the Lockhart Police Department Firing Range. He claimed that the smoke has damaged his home and made him ill. The citizen, who owns property adjacent to the range, said that his land was not hurt by the fire.